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World News

'No winner in Sudanese civil war', says bishop

by Lydia Davies

Bishop Paul Swarbrick, Lead Bishop for Africa, has condemned the devastating toll of the civil war in Sudan, with 12,000 casualties, 9 million displaced, and 25 million in need of aid.

He stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire between the Sudanese Armed Forces and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, highlighting the destructive cycle of violence and the absence of winners in the conflict.

“The cessation of violence is so important so that they can look at the damage that has been done, and take a step back from it, rather than using it as an opportunity to rearm and rebuild their aggression. There is going to be no winner if they carry on like this.

“It seems particularly difficult to get the sides to sit down together and discuss terms on which the future might be built for the country. It’s just a desperately bad situation that seems to be getting worse.” He said.

Expressing concern over the difficulty of bringing the warring parties to the negotiating table, Bishop Swarbrick warned of the escalating crisis. He feared Sudan might be overlooked amid higher-profile conflicts like those in Gaza and Ukraine. He said “Rather than focusing on crises like Gaza, Ukraine and Sudan individually, it is better to look at it as a family. It is not just one child who is sick, there are a number of children who are sick and you need to be aware of them at the same time.

“There are conflicts erupting everywhere and they are so contagious.”

The bishops of Sudan and South Sudan have consistently appealed for more action from the international community since the war's outbreak. Bishop Paul urged Catholics to contribute to peace efforts through prayer, charitable deeds, and personal peace-making initiatives.

He said “We have to believe in the power of prayer and the bishops of Sudan and South Sudan have also called for it. I encourage people to enter more deeply into prayer and see what the fruit of that is – not as escapism, but as a way to fortify ourselves.”

He added “It is also worthwhile to raise issues of political engagement and support through our own government and the role we can play internationally.

“That’s something we can take up with MPs, and potential MPs, as they begin campaigning. Don’t let the domestic scene crowd out the international scene. What happens abroad does affect us here in the UK.

“Also look at the way you deal with conflicts with people. Don’t let things flare up into irreconcilable problems. Practice healing, practice reconciliation, because it matters for everyone.”


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